Long Beach State Announces Bohl Diamond at Blair Field
Longtime LBSU supporter Marilyn Bohl has made a multi-million dollar contribution to the Blair Field renovation efforts.
LONG BEACH, Calif. - During a special presentation on Monday afternoon at Blair Field, Long Beach State announced a multi-million dollar gift from longtime supporter Marilyn Bohl, which will go towards the ongoing renovation efforts at Long Beach's historic ballpark. In recognition of her generous support, the playing surface has been named in her honor, and signage at the facility will now welcome fans to Bohl Diamond at Blair Field.
Long Beach State Athletics Director Andy Fee took the podium in front of an assembled group of fans, supporters, alumni, and the 2018 Dirtbags team to make the following declaration: "From this day forward, we will hereby call it Bohl Diamond at Blair Field. The stadium will retain its signature name of Blair Field throughout our lease agreement and continue in honor of this great and historic facility."
As Bohl was introduced, she received a standing ovation from the crowd, and proceeded to talk about her relationship with the game of baseball, and the Dirtbags. She recalled the early days of watching the Dirtbags play, beginning in 2001. She then highlighted a key moment in her support of Blair Field, a groundbreaking ceremony at the end of the 2016 season that kicked off the second phase of the Blair Field renovations.
"I had said at the Leadoff Dinner a few months before that I was giving back to the Dirtbags," Bohl explained. "But I also said I was investing; investing in Blair Field, investing in the Dirtbags baseball program, and investing in the lives of every single one of our baseball players current and future. To me, that was very, very exciting."
Thanks to Bohl's generous contributions to the program, Blair Field will continue to receive important upgrades in the years ahead. In January of 2016, Bohl helped kick off the early stages of the Blair Field renovations with a $1 million contribution. A new outfield fence was installed prior to the 2016 season, followed by the completion of the Troy & Danyll Tulowitzki Batting Facility and Jered Weaver Bullpen earlier this year. The Dirtbags' locker room also received an extensive update prior to the 2017 season. All of those improvements led up to a Big West Championship season for the Dirtbags in 2017, along with a run through the NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals, both hosted at Blair Field.
Fee outlined the planned upgrades on the horizon, including new stadium lights for the facility, a new playing surface and drainage system, as well as plans to renovate the existing structure along the left-field line into a new multi-purpose facility. Furthermore, with continued community support through the Blair Field Campaign, there are plans to install new seating, renovate the restrooms in the facility, and make other improvements to the fan experience throughout the ballpark.
The addition of the "Bohl Diamond" name has been approved by Long Beach State University in conjunction with the City of Long Beach, and will remain throughout the duration of Long Beach State's lease of Blair Field from the city. University President Jane Close Conoley and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia both spoke at the ceremony, stressing the important relationship between the city, the university, and Blair Field.
"A lot of folks don't know that Blair Field has been a partnership for many years between the city and the university," explained Garcia, who is also a Long Beach State alumnus. "This is a field of the community, this is a public facility, and we're so proud of the great stewardship the university has invested in making this a special place for so many students and so many families."
Blair Field was opened in 1958, and was named after longtime Long Beach Press-Telegram sports editor Frank T. Blair. The first game was played between a pair of local high schools, Long Beach Poly and Huntington Beach, and that legacy continues to this day. Long Beach's Moore League continues to play a large portion of its games at Blair each season, giving the city's high schoolers a chance to play on the historic field.
Long Beach State played its first game at Blair Field in 1958 against Long Beach City College, and would officially adopt Blair as its home field in 1993. Since then, the Dirtbags have had tremendous success building a national brand. For the past eight seasons, Long Beach State has had more former players in the major leagues than any other college or university.
Current Major Leaguers Troy Tulowitzki, Danny Espinosa and Matt Duffy, along with other former Dirtbags players and coaches, were in attendance for the historic announcement. Bohl spoke to the importance of Blair Field in the community, and offered her encouragement for others to join her in supporting Blair Field's ongoing renovations.
"The Blair Field renovation project isn't completed by one gift, or two gifts, or three gifts," Bohl said. "It takes a team. It takes a lot of people supporting the Dirtbags in a lot of ways."
For more information on how you can join the efforts to renovate Blair Field, visit BlairFieldCampaign.com. Season tickets for the upcoming 2018 baseball season are available online now, or by contacting the Long Beach State Ticket Office at (562) 985-4949.
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